Dollars and Disaster Preparedness in America
from AMERICANS AT RISK by Irwin Redlener
Total spent by the Federal Government on homeland security and disaster preparedness since September 2001. “We’re on a national spending spree without knowing what we need or what we’re trying to accomplish. We bought some port and border security, but not enough to make either system close to secure. We’ve invested in the public health system, but are not remotely capable of managing a major pandemic. . . The list goes on. . . we have a vast disconnected collection of what can best be described as 'random acts of preparedness'.” (pg. 133)
The per capita amount the Department of Homeland Security gives to American Samoa.
The per capita amount of money South Carolina receives.
Dollars spent paying extras to act in as patients in a bioterror drill by Los Angeles County. Additional costs related to this drill: $10,000 in gift certificates as thank-yous for the actors; $13,600 for pens, digital thermometers, and bags to hold the gifts, and thousands for transportation and food.
Total spent on gyms and personal trainers for volunteer firefighters in Estes Park, Colorado (population: 5,790).
Amount added to the military construction bill for “unrequested projects” by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Amount added to the military construction bill by Senator Jim Johnson (D-TN), for nonessential items.
Paid by the State of Louisiana to a consulting firm to put on four simulation workshops of a catastrophic hurricane hitting New Orleans, pre-Hurricane Katrina. Attendance at each workshop: 300, 100, 100, 80. FEMA attendees were the smallest group at each one.
Cost of five suits to protect against chemical warfare, purchased by Bennington, New Hampshire (population: 1,450). The police chief said, by way of explanation: "I don’t see any specific threats. It was just something they offered, so we figured we'd get on the bandwagon."
Cost of boat purchased by a Virginia volunteer fire department.
Cost of a decontamination unit no one has been trained to use, and that as of 2005 had been sitting in a box in a warehouse for a year, in Mason County, Washington.
Amount spent on homeland security in the state of Pennsylvania. State and regional coordinators have determined that it is too dangerous to provide a detailed accounting of where the money is going, either for equipment purchases, training, or administrative costs. Citing security reasons, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, which must approve all expenditures, declined a request from the Associated Press under the state’s right-to-know law to detail expenses since 2003.
Copyright © 2006 by Irwin Redlener
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